The Aalborg case - GPS tracking of 169 young adults in a Danish central city area: The Aalborg case – GPS-tracking of young adults in the central city

Henrik Harder, Peter Bro, Anne-Marie Knudsen

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Recent developments in the global positioning system (GPS) and the global system for
mobile communications, or third generation technology (GSM/3G), have enabled an
increasingly simple and cost-effective tracking of human activity in urban areas through
the use of mobile telephony for the collection of vast amounts of location-based data.
From a planning perspective, location-based datasets on collective or individual
spatial behaviour in urban areas are highly interesting. Combining this data with existing
information on urban elements such as plazas, shops, etc., to yield infinitely detailed
information on the interplay between users’ individual behaviours and the mentioned
urban elements require complex, yet accessible ways of representation. Further questions
must address other, value-based choices concerning urban design and planning.
We demonstrate a number of ways in which the collected data enable statistical
analysis of urban activity such as citizens’ time spent in plazas, parks, or windowshopping,
etc. More complex analyses are also undertaken by breaking down the data
into male and female cohorts, geographical areas, and activities at several places of
The study was based on a unique sample of movement data gleaned from 169 young
adults aged 16 to 20 years. Each person was GPS-tracked over a period of seven days in
2008-2009 to record their movements in and uses of spaces in the central city area of
Aalborg, which is Denmark’s fourth-largest city, with 122 461 inhabitants (2009).
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2010
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Event24th AESOP Annual Conference 2010: Space is Luxury - Helsinki, Finland
Duration: 7 Jul 201010 Jul 2010
Conference number: 24


Conference24th AESOP Annual Conference 2010


  • GIS
  • GPS
  • Planning
  • Survey
  • Mobility

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